Saturday, September 12, 2009
Ok. I know I've written a lot about these guys on this blog but bear with me. Trouble's self-titled 1989 release is the first album I ever heard of theirs. I was in tenth grade, and it really made an impression on me. I was just starting to get into Black Sabbath at the time. I liked Sabbath's sound, and this album really floored me. It opened my eyes and ears to the world of late 1960's and early 1970's heavy rock and metal. There are so many influences that Trouble wears on their sleeves and make completely their own on this album. There is the doom of Sabbath, the adrenaline fueled, much more upbeat and heavy doom of Pentagram, the heavy harmonies and song structures of The Beatles at their gloomiest, and a hint of the pure hippiefied gloom of Donovan. I would not have the interest in doom & psych metal that I have today if it weren't for these guys. I can almost bet money that Monster Magnet and Kyuss paid close attention to this album when they were crafting their own, more modern brand of psychedelic metal in the early to mid 1990's.
Let me start by saying that the message of this album is overtly Christian. But there is a strange paradox here. The message on the surface seems positive, but if you dig a bit deeper it is far from it. The lyrics convey a strong sense of fear, paranoia, depression and hoplessness. There is little faith in humanity. They make you feel as if you are backed into a corner and the only way out is to hope for a better place in the afterlife. They leave you with the impression that hope for life in the hereafter is not the best alternative either. But what else is there? An impending sense of doubt, depression, and cynicism overrides any positive message found in the lyrics. Eric Wagner's vocals are tortured and full of pain, yet melodic and instantly accessible. The musicianship is incredible here.The crushing guitar work never lets up, even when it is at it's most mellow. A deep seated sense of dread, paranoia,and fear hangs over every note of music played on this disc. When Eric Wagner sings that he has 'heaven on his mind', the music tells you the exact opposite. This disc is a walking paradox, and that is what makes it so great. The blind optimism of the Christian faith meets a cold brush with reality here. When you get through listening to this album, you will not want to convert. Far from it...it leaves you with the chills and the need to listen to something more cheerful or to go isolate yourself in a dark room for a while, contempalting suicide.
This is Trouble's greatest release, bar none. There is not a weak song on here. A few of my all time favorites are "The Wolf", the Donovan-like "The Misery Shows Act 3", and the drug addled full on psych/biker/metal of "Black Shapes of Doom". I cannot recommend this disc enough. It is only in print digitally...check out Amazon to download it for $9.99 US. To buy this one on disc will cost you a pretty penny indeed. Here's "The Wolf" and "Black Shapes of Doom". Enjoy.